Most of us have a floor pump at home or at least a good buddy who lets you borrow his. But maybe it's time to get your own (you really should) or get a better one. Now you wonder, what makes a good floor pump? Is it high volume, speed of inflation, the accuracy of the gauges? Is there a pump suited for both road bikes and MTBs? What about for fatbikes? What pumps work best for tubeless tires? We check out a few of the more popular models and let you know what you should be looking for...
Coming in at $140, the Pressure Over Drive from Lezyne is touted as being a portable alternative to air compressors for tubeless tires.
A floor pump with an integrated system designed to seat tubeless tires, the Pressure Over Drive offers tubeless tire users mobility and eliminates wasting CO2 cartridges. It features a secondary chamber that can be manually pressurized and then released with the integrated foot-lever, which in turn provides a strong, continued blast of air capable of seating road, mountain, and plus-sized tubeless setups.
The Pressure Over Drive has an easy to read top-mount analog dial gauge indicating the 220psi (15 bar) pressurizing limit. There's a built in safety release in the event of over inflation. It comes equipped with an extra long, nylon-reinforced braided hose and a Presta/Shrader compatible ABS2 chuck. A digital gauge version is available for $165.
The Joe Blow Mountain from Topeak ($50) makes the list due to its super-sized steel barrel designed to deliver the higher volume required of large off-road tires and an extra sensitive, base mounted analog gauge with air release button to help dial in the exact pressure. The sensitive gauge means this pump is also great for fatbike tires, where an extra couple of psi can make the difference between a sweet day out and a miserable, bumpy horror of a ride.
The extra-long braided hose is a nice touch, and the air release button is a great idea. With a maximum pressure of 75psi it is, as the name suggests, all about mountain biking and won’t deliver the pressure needed to inflate road bike tires.
When installing or inflating tubeless tires, many home mechanics resort to using CO2 canisters or an air compressor to get that reassuring “snap” that indicates the bead is firmly seated. Bontrager’s new Flash Charger TLR ($120) combines the blow-hard ability of an air compressor with the portability of a floor pump.
The Flash Charger comes with an auxiliary air chamber which is pressurized by pumping the handle in the normal manner. About 45 pumps will bring the pressure in the chamber to an impressive 160psi – then, simply attach the pump head to the valve and pull up the red lever, releasing the air from the pressurized chamber and seating the tire.
Like the Lezyne Pressure Over Drive, the Airshot is designed specifically to inflate tubeless tires. Unlike the Over Drive, though, The Airshot cannot be used as a regular pump. Instead, it is pressurised using an ordinary floor pump, then air can be released in a rapid but controlled fashion for tire inflation.
At $100, it’s not a great purchase unless you already own a decent pump and just want the added advantage of being able to bed in your tubeless tires.
Another MTB pump that delivers plenty of air very quickly is the Giyo MTB Floor Pump. It’s a powerful, heavy duty unit designed specifically for 29ers and their voracious appetite for air. It features an enormous gauge with big, clear numerals and a rock-solid, massive base to keep it stable on any surface. The twin valve makes it suitable for Presta and Schrader attachments, and with a maximum pressure of 120psi it will inflate most road bike tires up to a reasonable pressure level too. And at $45, it won’t break the bank.
Despite the wonderful reputation enjoyed by Park Tools within the cycling community, the PFP-8 ($38) only made our list for one reason. It’s ergonomically uncomfortable to use, the smallish base is unstable, and the plastic components are flimsy and easily broken. However, if you want VOLUME, and you want it FAST, this pump delivers better than any that we tested.
If fatbiking is your thing, or you just like to run low pressure in your MTB tires, this tire pressure gauge from Meiser is a great idea. For under $20 you can get a very accurate pressure reading, so if you have a basic floor pump you can simply over-inflate your tires (which for a fatbike could be as low as 10psi) then let small amounts of air out, measuring pressure as you go. These gauges are tested to be accurate within 0.25% of the displayed reading – much more precise than a traditional floor pump.
At only $30, the Earl Grey comes in toward the bottom end of the price scale. However, it’s a good solid pump that delivers high volumes of air up to 120psi. It has a stable rubber-coated base, clearly readable gauge, and easy-to-use Presta-or-Schrader pump head: an outstanding budget pick.
This custom CNC machined, high polished aluminum floor pump ($39) boasts a 2.5” oversized, precise, easy-to-read gauge, and features JetBlack’s own TwinJet pump head with air bleed button and twin valve fittings. With a focus on getting road and track bike tires up to race pressure as quickly as possible, the Admiral will take the pressure all the way up to an impressive 200psi. The 1.2 meter (4 foot) long hose means you can reach the valves even when the bike is on a workstand, and the die-cast aluminum base is wide enough to ensure the pump never tips over. A great value pump with some impressive features if high pressure is your priority.